Travel

07 Aug 2020, 10:30 AM

STA, 7 August 2020 - Slovenia has added Belgium and several other countries to its red list of countries, which signals high risk in terms of coronavirus contagion. The Czech Republic, Malta, Switzerland and three Spanish administrative units have been meanwhile removed from the green list of safe countries and demoted to yellow.

The changes were made by the government last night, effective immediately.

Apart from Belgium, Saint Martin, Equatorial Guinea, the Faroe Islands and Namibia are now on the red list as well, meaning arrival from these countries entails a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Currently, the red list features 58 countries.

A number of countries have been upgraded from the red list to the yellow list - Belorussia, Algeria, Ecuador and Spanish administrative unit Valencia.

Meanwhile, the Spanish administrative units that have been demoted to the yellow list are the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, and Castile and Leon.

Persons with permanent or temporary residence in countries on the green list or persons arriving from those countries can enter Slovenia without restrictions or a mandatory quarantine.

From yellow-listed countries entry without the need to self-isolate is granted to Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia if they submit a proof (such as an invoice for the accommodation or property ownership certificate) that they have not come from a red-listed country. If they cannot produce such a proof they are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

Arrivals from red-listed countries regardless of citizenship and those who have temporary or permanent residence in those countries are also subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine or isolation, except for several exceptions, including transit and international transport.

Moreover, the government decided at yesterday's correspondence session that restrictions on public gatherings remain in force due to coronavirus concerns.

This story was published on 7 August, 2020 – you can see the latest details on entering Slovenia during the coronavirus crisis here

03 Aug 2020, 19:29 PM

Cycling has become a common activity among many people in Slovenia. For many, cycling presents for casual recreational activity and for many, a more serious sports activity. A number of cycling events, which annually take place, invite many to Slovenia. Cycling events which also present cyclists with the picturesque diversity one can find in Slovenia. In the past, Robert Posl, an active cyclist in Slovenia, shared what it is like taking part in the most challenging cycling event in Slovenia, the Marathon of the Alps.

Yet some cyclists come to Slovenia for a more casual ride through Slovenia, at their own pace. Thus, not taking part in cycling events. To get to know more about the diversity one can experience through Slovenia, Robert agreed to share more about the diversity one can experience through Slovenia.

Living in Slovenia, now already over 25 years, I am still fascinated by the diversity one can meet with, in Slovenia. Coming from South Africa, a much larger country, and a country with a much more uniform landscape, it only fascinates me more.

I enjoy taking part in cycling events, which annually take place in Slovenia. One year, I decided to take part in one event, the “Marathon of three borders”; Though this cycling marathon took place more than 200km away, in the province of Prekmurje, which is in the extreme east of Slovenia; I decided that after I completed with the marathon that I would take on the challenge of cycling through Slovenia. A tour, which would take me much further than just getting home, but a tour crossing the borders of every country neighbouring Slovenia.

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On the road from Murska Sobota. I thought I would never experience riding down roads like this in Slovenia; straight and absolutely no hills. And also, in the dry climate as it often is here, and relatively unvegetated

My tour started by going to Murska Sobota by train, the only larger city in the Prekmurje province. This was the first time I had ever been to this area of Slovenia. My first stretch of cycling was to get to Lendava, a town in the absolute corner of Slovenia, in almost walking distance from both Croatia and Hungary.

Cycling in this area, I experienced something I only ever experienced in South Africa. Cycling on absolutely flat terrain, with straight roads, which disappear off into the distance, as far as one can see. The next day was the marathon, which took us first into Croatia, then into Hungary, and finally back into Slovenia.  

But that was not the end of cycling for the day for me, because I planned to cycle to Rogatec. This meant cycling out of Prekmurje, off the hot and dry Prekmurje plateau, as many call it, and into the Styria province where my parents live. This brought on a considerable drop in altitude above sea level and into terrain, which brought on a gradual change in the climate.

After a day’s break, I took on the next stage of the challenge, which took me, at first South, to the Lower Carniola province and to the Sava river, and then West towards Ljubljana. The Lower Carniola province is known for its unique quinze and whines.  This was one stage where I faced the greatest transition in the countryside and in the climate. Even before getting close to the Sava river, I gradually came into more vegetated landscape, which I am more used to in Slovenia. Heading West, towards Ljubljana, I gradually met up with more forested countryside. After almost reaching Ljubljana, I headed North for Kamnik, and back towards the Alps region of Slovenia.

The next day, I went on a short round trip out of Kamnik. For many, Kamnik is that picturesque town at the foot of the Alps. For those visiting, they soon find out what that means. From Kamnik, there are many directions a cyclist can choose from. I decided to head west and up to a cabin known by most cyclists in the region, “The 902”. It’s a pub, which is located on a mountain pass, at 902 meters above sea-level. This is very much different cycling than that I had faced in the 400km so far, across from the East of Slovenia to here. The presence of the mountain ranges is so persistent; with roads winding through the mountains, crossing and following mountain streams from one woodland and into the next.

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Kamnik, almost wedged in between the Kamnik, Savinj Alps. Makes for excellent mountain riding, which attracts many, to this alive and vibrant town

After another day’s break, I took on the most daunting stage of my tour. It was into the Upper Carniola province. Going into the Upper Carniola region, you get that feeling, that you are now really in Europe. The first section of the day was to get up to the border with Austria. This involved following through another river valley, to get up and over another Alpine pass, and across the border into Austria. In Austria, I followed yet more mountain roads and into the river basin of the great Drava river. I then turned South to Italy and in Italy, back to Slovenia. I was in Italy for a short time, as I followed the road back into Slovenia. I crossed back into Slovenia, near the renowned Planica ski-jumping centre. One of the highest, if not the highest or largest known ski-flying hill.

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One of the many mountain passes, along one of those mountain roads

Even though I had come into the mountainous region of Slovenia, cycling back to Kamnik did not involve any more cycling along mountain roads. All thankyou to the Sava River, which has carved its way out through the land already in Austria, through the Carniola province, passed Ljubljana and further through Slovenia.

Taking on this cycling challenge across and through Slovenia, I experienced first-hand the diversity you can find in Slovenia. Various provinces of Slovenia, which are all unique and known for their individual countrysides.

More by Robert Posl: See Slovenia by bike, with the marathon of the Alps

03 Aug 2020, 11:49 AM

STA, 3 August 2020 - A festival starting on Monday evening will bring contemporary circus, an art form rarely seen in Slovenia, to Ljubljana this week. The 13th international Klovnbuf Festival will feature both Slovenian and foreign artists, and focus on the art of juggling, the organisers say.

Apart from acclaimed artists, the festival will also present some up-and-coming Slovenian and Slovak performers. The best foreign productions which cannot be performed live because of the coronavirus will be screened on-line at the Metelkova museum platform.

In the opening show this evening entitled What Have I Found in the Attic, Slovenian dancer Ana Lekše, who works at the Youth Circus in Leuven, Belgium, will show her mastery of aerial rope at the Stara Elektrarna (Old Power Station), the main venue of the festival.

On Tuesday, two young Slovenian artists, Luka Piletić and Jan Podbrežnik, will explore the difficult questions artists ask themselves during the creative process.

Slovakian circus and performance artist Roman Škadra will present circus as a potentially joyful, yet endlessly futile endeavour in a humorist and metaphoric show Absurd Hero on Thursday.

A highlight of the festival according to the organisers will be an award-winning performance Tangram, featuring juggling master from Belgium Stefan Sing and a ballerina, Cristiana Casadio from Italy.

The weekend part of the festival will be held outdoors at the Metelkova museum platform, and near-by parks.

On Saturday, Branko Potočan and Jana Menger, the founders of the Fourklor physical theatre will offer an overview of their joint dance history in the show entitled Down Memory Lane.

The festival will close with performances by young Slovenian artists and juggling concert Mismo Nismo featuring Tjaž Juvan, Oton Korošec, Eva Zibler, who combine contemporary circus and improvisation with various art genres and formats.

The last day will be reserved for children, featuring The Lion with a Grey Beard by Zavod Bufeto & EX-teater, and several other performances held at Špica Park and Tabor Park.

All events will be admission free.

The website is here, and the programme is below

MONDAY, 3rd August

-

8:00 PM

work-in-progress

What have I found in the Attic

Ana Lekše (SI)

@ Old City Power Station - Elektro Ljubljana

-

8:30 PM

talk back

Ana Lekše

@ Old City Power Station - Elektro Ljubljana

​​

TUESDAY, 4th August

-

8:00 PM

work-in-progress

!

Luka Piletič & Jan Podbrežnik (SI)

@ Old City Power Station - Elektro Ljubljana

-

8:45 PM

talk back

Luka Piletič & Jan Podbrežnik

@ Old City Power Station - Elektro Ljubljana

 

THURSDAY, 6th August

-

8:00 PM

work-in-progress

Absurd Hero

Roman Škadra (SK)

@ Old City Power Station - Elektro Ljubljana

-

9:00 PM

talk back

Roman Škadra

@ Old City Power Station - Elektro Ljubljana

FRIDAY, 7th August

-

4:00 - 7:00 PM

workshop

Walking Globe

Roman Škadra (SK)

@ Zavod Salesianum OE SKALA

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION

-

8:30 PM

Tangram

Stefan Sing & Cristiana Casadio (DE, IT)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

-

10:00 PM

public screening

Smashed

Gandini Juggling (UK)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

SATURDAY, 8th August

-

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

workshop

Organic Juggling meets Dance

Stefan Sing & Cristiana Casadio (DE, IT)

@ Zavod Salesianum OE SKALA

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION

-

8:30 PM

Down Memory Lane

Branko Potočan & Jana Menger (SI)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

-

10:00 PM

public screening

Queen Have & Miss Haven't

Thick & Tight (UK)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

SUNDAY, 9th August

-

11:00 AM

The Lion with a Grey Beard

Zavod Bufeto & EX-teater (SI)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

-

11:00 AM

Labyrinth

Laboratorij Bufeto & Teatro Matita (SI)

@ Špica Park

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12:00 PM

Duo Terasa

Globus Hystericus (SI)

@ Špica Park

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6:00 PM

Labyrinth

Laboratorij Bufeto & Teatro Matita (SI)

@ Tabor Park

-

7:15 PM

Duo Terasa

Globus Hystericus (SI)

@ Tabor Park

-

7:30 PM

Old & Bold

Tolpa Lutkalica (SI)

@ Tabor Park

-

8:30 PM

Juggling Concert

Mismo Nismo (SI)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

-

10:00 PM

public screening

Shorts by Thick & Tight:

Engel

Edd Arnold, Thick & Tight (UK)

Soup

Harry Alexander, Thick & Tight (UK)

Empire

Vidya Patel, Thick & Tight (UK)

Pomp

Gary Clarke, Thick & Tight (UK)

@ Odprti oder Muzejska ploščad Metelkova

​​

FREE ENTRANCE FOR ALL EVENTS

DONATIONS ARE WELCOME

02 Aug 2020, 13:18 PM

STA, 2 August 2020 - Growing interest in wine tourism in the south-eastern Dolenjska region among Slovenians, sparked by introduction of holiday vouchers, will help improve the tourist season in the region, Dolenjska tourism providers who base their services on vineyard cottages known as zidanice have said.

 The zidanice, regionally well-known simple houses with wine cellars surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards, have been the mainstay of the region's tourism for years, apart from spa resorts.

The increased interest, brought about by the vouchers, the government measure designed to boost Slovenian tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic, will have a long-term positive effect in terms of promoting these rural retreats.

Petra Štukelj, a representative of the Zidanice Tourism Consortium Association, told the STA that at the beginning of the epidemic, up to 90% of zidanice bookings were cancelled, mostly by foreign tourists, who had accounted for the majority of guests in previous years.

Launching the vouchers has mitigated the situation, with Slovenians opting for discovering their own country amid coronavirus concerns and travel restrictions, she said.

In April, vineyard cottages were virtually empty, whereas in May, the situation started turning for the better. June compared to the same period last year and in July, the occupancy rate increased by as much as some 40% on July 2019.

The providers expect to see the upward trend carry on into the following months.

The share of domestic guests was less than 25% last year, whereas this year it has climbed to 75%. Summer months and September are the busiest, with the zidanice being perfect for smaller groups of visitors.

Apart from Dolenjska, the consortium also provides accommodation services in wine-growing regions of Posavje, Bela Krajina and Obsotelje in south-eastern and eastern Slovenia.

Holidaying zidanice-style comes with wine-tasting and culinary experiences, countryside hospitality, gorgeous views of rural landscape and a plethora of sports activity options, the association said.g

31 Jul 2020, 19:51 PM

STA, 31 July 2020 - Slovenia has added Bulgaria, Romania, the Bahamas, India and five Spanish administrative units to its red list of countries from which arrival entails a mandatory two-week quarantine due to coronavirus. Spain, Belgium, Australia, Morocco, Andorra and Canada have been removed from the green list of safe countries, and demoted to yellow.

The changes were made by the government last night and effective from Friday 31 July.

Get the latest news from the border police here

Five of Spain's administrative units - Ceuta, Melilla, Asturias, Galicia and the Canary Islands - are now on the green list, and five - Valencia, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Navarre and Aragon - are now on the red list.

The government in addition upgraded from the red list to yellow Djibouti, Sweden, Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, Portugal, Equatorial Equatorial Guinea and the Seychelles.

Persons with permanent or temporary residence in the countries on the green list or persons arriving from those countries can enter Slovenia without restrictions or a mandatory quarantine.

From yellow-listed countries entry without the need to self-isolate is granted to Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia if they submit a proof (such as an invoice for the accommodation or property ownership certificate) that they have not come from a red-listed country. If they cannot produce such a proof they are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

Arrivals from red-listed countries regardless of citizenship and those who have temporary or permanent residence in those countries are also subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine or isolation, except for several exceptions, including transit and international transport.

27 Jul 2020, 09:23 AM

STA, 26 July 2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a huge blow to the Koper port's passenger terminal, as cruise line operators have been postponing planned voyages. The first cruise ship is due in Koper on 30 August.

The first planned arrival this season is Marella Explorer, the cruise ship operated by Marella Cruises which has a capacity for 1,900 passengers and 900 crew members.

A further 14 passenger ship arrivals are scheduled in Koper until 22 November. However, the port operator Luka Koper says the shipping companies remain cautious. Nor will the ships be fully booked.

Luka Koper had initially planned to open the passenger season in early April with 61 arrivals originally announced by cruise ship operators until the end of the year.

This comes after more than 115,000 passengers arrived in Koper last year on 72 ships, an all-time high.

The port follows a strict nationally-coordinated coronavirus protocol with detailed procedures prescribed for the event of an infectious disease being discovered on a ship.

The incoming ships need to submit their health declaration to the Maritime Administration even before their arrival. If an infection is suspected, the procedure is taken over by an epidemiologist from the National Institute of Public Health who decides whether the ship can enter the port, and gives instructions to everyone involved.

24 Jul 2020, 17:24 PM

STA, 24 July 2020 - Slovenia has been added to the UK's list of air bridges, which allows travel to England without needing to self-isolate, the UK Embassy in Slovenia has announced.

Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and St Vincent and the Grenadines, have been added to the list of travel corridors with effect from Tuesday 28 July.

Passengers from those countries will not need to self-isolate when arriving in England.

However, destinations exempt from border measures continue to remain under constant review to keep the risk of infections from abroad low, the UK Department for Transport said.

Meanwhile, Slovenians will be required to self-isolate when entering Finland from Monday, 27 July.

This is after the Finnish government placed Slovenia on a list of countries for which restrictions apply on arrival due to the coronavirus situation, along with Austria and Switzerland.

Otherwise, Slovenians can travel to virtually all EU and EEA/Schengen countries restriction free, one rare exception is Ireland.

All our stories on Slovenia and coronavirus

24 Jul 2020, 09:56 AM

STA, 23 July 2020 - Slovenia will not put Croatia on the red list of countries from which travellers must quarantine, Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said on Thursday. While he acknowledged the number of infections there has been rising, he said it was "encouraging they adopted quite a few measures after the election".

Gantar said that the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) had not yet proposed that Croatia be red-listed, and anyway the criteria for putting countries on one of the three lists had changed.

Get the latest from the Slovenian Police on the situation at the borders

Slovenia no longer considers just the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period, it also assesses the possibility of the infections spreading or being transmitted into other countries.

Gantar also said Slovenia would stop rapidly changing the status of countries, instead the decisions will be taken in conjunction with other countries.

Croatia is currently on Slovenia's yellow list. Citizens of those countries except for those residing in Slovenia are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on entering Slovenia unless they are just passing through or fall under one of 18 exemptions. Slovenian arrivals are also checked more closely, as they need to prove they have not come from a red-listed country.

See more statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia here

Finland puts restrictions on those coming from Slovenia

STA, 23 July 2020 - The Finnish government has placed Slovenia on a list of countries for which restrictions apply on arrival due to the coronavirus outbreak. From Monday, the restrictions will also apply on arrivals from Austria and Switzerland.

According to a post on its web site, the Finnish government today decided to reinstate internal border controls for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. This is because these countries have seen an increase in the number of coronavirus infections since the previous assessment.

The Finnish government updates the list of countries for which restrictions apply about once a fortnight. EU countries already on the list are Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

The restrictions entail a 14-day self-isolation on arrival. They can be lifted once the incidence of coronavirus has not exceeded eight new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 14 days.

Data from Slovenia's Covid-19 tracker site, which pools official data, shows that the country with a population of two million has 257 active cases as of 22 July, out of a total of 2,033 so far confirmed.

Slovenians can travel to virtually all EU and EEA/Schengen countries restriction free, one rare exception is Ireland.

22 Jul 2020, 13:44 PM

STA, 22 July 2020 - Hit Alpinea, the biggest provider of accommodation at the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, is fairly happy with the occupancy rates this summer considering the situation. Most of the guests come from Slovenia with between 85% and 90% of them paying with the government vouchers.

The company's director Milan Sajovic has hailed the vouchers and the government furlough scheme as two very good measures in an interview with the STA. He would like both to be extended, the redemption of vouchers by the end of the 2020/21 winter season and the furlough scheme by the end of 2020.

Hit Alpinea, a subsidiary of the Nova Gorica-based gaming and tourism company Hit, employs over 200 people. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it did not hire seasonal workers this year, so it currently has some 20 staff fewer than last summer.

From the second half of March until the end of May, 90% of the staff was on furlough before the share gradually decreased as hotels started to open in June. By 17 July, all four Alpinea hotels reopened, providing a total of 418 rooms.

Hotel beds were initially well occupied at weekends, but now the rates have also improved during the week. "The occupancy rates are much lower than last year's when he had between 80% and 100% during the summer season, but we're glad the occupancy is good considering the situation," said Sajovic.

On the downside, the guests are spending less. "The bulk of the demand is generated by tourist vouchers," a measure that Sajovic described as excellent for Kranjska Gora as well as the coastal and spa resorts, but less so for Ljubljana and some other destinations.

He believes the vouchers could have a long-term positive effect. Many Slovenians are holidaying in Kranjska Gora for the first time and hopefully they will return, having realised that the alpine resort is an excellent alternative to the crowded seaside resorts.

There are few foreign visitors in Kranjska Gora at the moment, but the situation is getting better. Sajovic estimates that Slovenians will generate between 60% and 70% of the nights spent in tourism accommodation in Kranjska Gora this summer and the rest will be foreigners.

Those come mostly from the countries within the 1,000-kilometre radius of Kranjska Gora. Most visitors at this time are Hungarians, Czechs, Germans, Austrians and Italians. The hope is that the coronavirus situation in those countries does not deteriorate and that border restrictions are not stiffened.

While Sajovic understands the gravity and unpredictability of the situation, he believes the government could ease border restrictions for groups of athletes on preparations, who do not mix with other guests and travel in some sort of quarantine anyway. Such groups are a major market segment for destinations such as Kranjska Gora.

Hit Alpinea has been operating at a profit in recent years. "After growth, we were doing better than average in the past years," a trend Sajovic says has been interrupted by the pandemic this year. "The situation this year is unique, but we're looking into the future, we need but to survive this year."

All our stories on Slovenia’s tourism vouchers

22 Jul 2020, 11:16 AM

STA, 21 July 2020 - The newspaper Primorske Novice says that Slovenia's less-known tourist destinations are the winners of the tourism voucher scheme designed to help the sector overcome the coronacrisis. They are being discovered because the well-known destinations are fully booked weeks in advance.

Only 6% of the vouchers, issued to all residents, have been redeemed so far and many people will be redeeming theirs in autumn or winter.

But this moment, many Slovenians are hoping to book a holiday at a destination that was far from the top of their list because the most popular destinations are full, the paper says under the headline We'll Be Back, Voucher or Not.

It also notes that there are two sides to every coin. While tourists want a nice and cheap holiday, service providers in some popular destination have doubled prices.

But the sector has also come to realise that domestic guests are the most reliable in this unpredictable world. They will not be able to save the season single-handedly, but the vouchers will see Slovenians discover their own country and decide whether they want to return.

"Data showing that domestic tourists have spread also across destinations they would not have considered usually ... is undoubtedly a positive outcome of this experiment."

All our stories on Slovenia’s tourist vouchers

20 Jul 2020, 12:27 PM

STA, 20 July 2020 - Roughly 130,000 Slovenian residents have redeemed state-sponsored tourism vouchers worth EUR 20 million in the first month since the launch of a scheme designed to help the Slovenian tourism industry recover from the coronavirus epidemic.

The rate at which the vouchers are redeemed has been growing and more than 20,000 bookings have already been made for the coming days, Financial Administration director Peter Jenko told the press on Monday.

The bulk of the vouchers were redeemed at the most popular tourism destinations: coastal resorts, Gorenjska region and spas. Some 44% were spent on hotels, 20% for self-service apartments and roughly a tenth in campsites, he said.

Most people redeem just a portion of the voucher at one time, which means that many of the 130,000 who redeemed theirs still have credit.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the figures showed the scheme was a success and people see the stimulus money as sensible.

Počivalšek being the author of the scheme, some have taken to calling the vouchers "Počivoucher", which the minister says showed "people have a positive attitude to this measure".

Vouchers worth a total of EUR 345 million, EUR 200 per adult and EUR 50 per underage resident, were introduced as part of measures to help the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The vouchers are seen as a much needed boost for local tourism, although they will not be able to fully offset the shortfall of revenue generated by foreign guests.

Learn more about Slovenia’s tourism vouchers

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